No plan to reduce age of juveniles: Tirath

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has conceded that the rate of conviction in rape cases has declined over the years even as cases of sexual assaults have gone up. On the other hand, the government has said it has no plans to reduce the age of juveniles under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Minister of State for Home R.P.N. Singh said that from 44.3 per cent in 1973, the conviction rate declined steadily to 37.7 per cent in 1983, 26.9 per cent in 2009, 26.6 per cent in 2010 and 26.4 per cent in 2011.

“As per information by the NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), a total number of 21,397, 22,172 and 24,206 cases of rape were reported in the country in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively,” Mr. Singh said while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Safety of women in Delhi

To a question about the safety of women in Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs Mullappally Ramachandran said: “It is not as bad as compared to other States... Delhi stands at 16th-17th place as compared to other States. If you say that crime against women has increased [in Delhi], it is because more women are coming forward to register complaint.”

Post the gang rape and murder of a paramedical student in Delhi in December last, several measures had been taken to check crime in the city. “Now a large number of women are going confidently to police stations and registering complaints. Departmental proceedings have been initiated against police officers, including against IPS officers, for not registering complaints.

Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath told the Rajya Sabha that there was no plan to reduce the age of juveniles under the Juvenile Justice Act. Though there were suggestions from various Chief Secretaries to lower the age from 18 to 16 in the wake of the Delhi incident, the Justice Verma Committee had not supported it. “Accordingly, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is not considering any amendment to lower the age of children in conflict with law under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.”

Domestic violence

Referring to domestic violence, Ms. Tirath said the Centre had formulated a scheme of assistance to the States. “It includes the appointment of independent protection officers with basic infrastructure and service providers at the district-level and appointment of protection officers at the sub-division and tehsil levels in 100 most vulnerable districts and awareness generation programmes.”The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 requires appointment of protection officers, registration of service providers and notification of shelter homes and medical facilities. But so far only six States had appointed such officers while many other States rued the shortage of funds. During the 12th Plan, Rs.694 crore was earmarked for the implementation of provisions under the Act.